Makeup Pre-Game With Your Friends


Wild theory: A night out can't ever compare to the few hours that precede it. You know, the getting ready part. You've got your snacks, your friends, your wine in a mug. The music's on point, and you're not worried about being spilled on, danced on, or having your parka peed on by a drunk dude mistaking the coat room for the bathroom (not an urban party legend—owner of said parka is still recovering). For a few blissful hours, you are an artiste—transforming yourself and your friends from daytime groutfit evangelists to disco creatures of the night.

And then there's the makeup. Or to be more exact, the friend makeup pre-game. Helping your friends shape the sharpest contour, the most precisely-drawn red lip. Or maybe that's just me? Well, it shouldn't be. You've got to get on board with this one—and hello, I'm your conductor. Invite your pals to your place for some BYO-makeup thrills, and get ready to get ready—surely you've got some holiday parties coming up. Here's how to throw a makeup pre-game gathering of your own.

To start, you're going to need...

A pencil sharpener: You may have accepted a piece of gum out of your best friend’s mouth once, but the light of day calls for proper hygiene. So here’s this, to start fresh with every eye and lip.
An illuminating primer: You can use it on everyone, regardless of skin tone, and it's subtle, so it won't compete with any glittery holiday decor.
A neutral palette: A matte brown and light beige are always crowd-pleasing safe bets.
Tunes: Barbra Streisand? '80s alt? I will personally be listening to this Maggie Rogers song on repeat until someone stops me. Play whatever gets you feeling groovy, but be sure to play something.

For The Friend Who Knows Exactly What They Want

They’re pulling references, they’re showing you saved Instagrams, they bring a full bag of makeup and they keep calling you Mother. Do they think you’re Pat McGrath? Don’t burst their bubble—just nod and say, “I gotchu.” Also, “What color is your outfit?” They’ll appreciate your attention to detail and eagerness to attempt a glossed eye. Allot a decent amount of time in your schedule, pull up your sleeves, and remember to do the tricky stuff first in case you mess up. A quick makeup wipe to the face will erase any ill-advised color combinations without having to start from scratch. Do one eye and snap a few photos to let them appreciate your work from every angle—you won’t have to ask for feedback, because they’ll give it to you. Make a few adjustments to their liking, and then do the other eye to match. Think to yourself, “This will look great in the makeup portfolio I’ve been meaning to compile.” You're doing the work, but there's just as much reward for you as there is for them.

For The Friend Who Never Wears Makeup, But Wants To Try

They have no idea how to wield an eyeshadow brush and why it differs from, say, a foundation brush—and they’re doing just fine without that particular set of skills. You can teach them how to do a smoky eye later. For now, pour them a drink and work on bringing out the beautiful features you love. Spot correct with whatever foundation or concealer they already have, but if they don’t have one, your illuminator works as an ad hoc fix—it'll blur and even out their skin enough. Use bronzer as both a light contour and eyeshadow, just to define what’s already there. Then, stop. Let them peek in a mirror—the non-makeup wearer is easily spooked. If you put on too much in the first go, they’ll wipe it all off and never let you near their face again. If they’re down with the skin and the bronzer, cool—you can go in with a darker brown and define their lash line and crease. Sweep on a neutral blush. Gloss those lips. Say, “You’re doing amazing sweetie,” in pleasant, dulcet tones. Whatever you do, do not come at them with an eyelash curler.

For The Friend Who’s Been Doing It Wrong the big one. The white whale of friend makeovers, if you will. Not that there’s a right or wrong way to wear makeup! It’s just…you’ve been waiting what feels like a millennium to gently suggest an alternative to the turquoise eyeliner they wear exclusively, or a contour technique that includes less baking and more blending. Truthfully, you just love them so much you couldn’t bear the thought of bringing it up. But they’re in your seat now, and they’re giving you free reign. It’s possible the only reason they’ve been doing their makeup that way is because it’s the only way they know how. Take the time to walk them through what you’re doing, and why. Have them hold a mirror and watch your technique—and be sure to tell them it’s how top models pick up all their skills. Keep it simple—light contour and a defined eye. They can do their own mascara, et voilà.

For The Friend Who Is Yourself

In all this pre-game commotion, you still need to do your own makeup. Maybe you blot on a red lip, and leave it at that. Or better yet: Put your friends to work with their newly acquired set of makeup skills. Together, they should be able to assemble a full face in no time. And when you finally make it to wherever you are going, don’t forget, quoth Kylie Jenner, “Never Let Your Lady Friend Use The Restroom By Herself.”

—Ali Oshinsky

Photo via ITG